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Melanophidium wynaudense (BEDDOME, 1863)

IUCN Red List - Melanophidium wynaudense - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaUropeltidae, Henophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Common NamesWayanad shieldtail, Indian Black Earth Snake 
SynonymPlectrurus wynaudensis BEDDOME 1863
Plectrurus wynandensis — BEDDOME 1863 (ex errore, hence not available)
Plectrurus wynandensis — BEDDOME 1864: 180
Melanophidium wynandense — GÜNTHER 1864: 194
Melanophidium wynaudense — BEDDOME 1886: 30
Melanophidium wynandense — BOULENGER 1893: 163
Melanophidium wynaudense — SMITH 1943: 67
Melanophidium wyandense [sic] — WILLIAMS 1959
Melanophidium wynaudense — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 130
Melanophidium wynaudensis — DAS 2003
Melanophidium wynaudense — WALLACH et al. 2014: 437 
DistributionS India (W Ghats, Tamil Nadu)

Type locality: „Cherambady in the Wynaud", Tamil Nadu, S India; lectotype locality: Manantoddy (Mananthavady), Wayanad  
TypesLectotype: BMNH (= BMNH 1946.1.15.46), designated by Gower et al. 2016.
Syntypes: BMNH (= 1946.1.15.74), 4.29.84 (= 1946.1.15.46); MNHN 95.108—95.109. 
CommentDescription after BEDDOME (1864: 180): “Scales round the body 15, round the neck 16 or 17; rostral scarcely produced back between the nasals; no supraorbital; muzzle more obtuse than in P. Perrotteti; eye small; subcaudals 11 pairs; anal large, bifid; tail compressed; scales smooth, terminal spinose, tail ending in a single horny point. Colour bluish black, with broad white blotches on the belly, which become larger and more numerous towards the tail; tail uniform bluish black.”

Type species: Plectrurus wynaudensis BEDDOME 1863 is the type species of the genus Melanophidium GÜNTHER 1864.

Distriution: The type locality Cherambadi is in Tamil Nadu, not Kerala as stated by Wallach et al. (2014). 
  • Beddome, R.H. 1864. Description of new species of the family Uropeltidae from Southern India, with notes on other little-known species. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (3) 13: 177-180 - get paper here
  • Beddome, R.H. 1886. An account of the earth snakes of the Peninsula of India and Ceylon. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5) 17: 3-33. - get paper here
  • Beddome, RICHARD HENRY 1863. Further notes upon the snakes of the Madras Presidency; with descriptions of new species. Madras Quart. J. Med. Sci., 6: 41-48 [Reprint: J. Soc. Bibliogr. Nat. Sci., London, 1 (10): 306-314, 1940]
  • Beddome, RICHARD HENRY 1863. Descriptions of new species of the family Uropeltidae from Southern India, with notes on other little-known species. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1863: 225-229. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Das, Indraneil 2003. Growth of Knowledge on the Reptiles of India, with an Introduction to Systematics, Taxonomy and Nomenclature. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 100 (2-3): 446-502 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S. R., P. Gowri Shankar and R. Sreekar. 2012. First record of Wayanad shieldtail Melanophidium wynaudense (Beddome, 1863) from the Central Western Ghats, India. Hamadryad 36 (1): 53-56
  • GOWER, DAVID J.; VARAD GIRI, ASHOK CAPTAIN, MARK WILKINSON 2016. A reassessment of Melanophidium Günther, 1864 (Squamata: Serpentes: Uropeltidae) from the Western Ghats of peninsular India, with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 4085 (4): 481–503 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Palot, M.J. 2015. A checklist of reptiles of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 8010–8022 - get paper here
  • Pyron R. A., Ganesh S. R., Sayyed A., Sharma V., Wallach V. & Somaweera R. 2016. A catalogue and systematic overview of the shield-tailed snakes (Serpentes: Uropeltidae). [type catalogue] Zoosystema 38 (4): 453-506 - get paper here
  • Sharma, R. C. 2004. Handbook Indian Snakes. AKHIL BOOKS, New Delhi, 292 pp.
  • Smith, M.A. 1943. The Fauna of British India, Ceylon and Burma, Including the Whole of the Indo-Chinese Sub-Region. Reptilia and Amphibia. 3 (Serpentes). Taylor and Francis, London. 583 pp.
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Williams, Ernest E. 1959. The occipito-vertebral joint in the burrowing snakes of the family Uropeltidae. Breviora (106): 1-10 - get paper here
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